Samuel Eto’o has instructed Xavi to return to Barcelona while Lionel Messi is still playing, with the former Cameroon ace branding the six-time Ballon d’Or winner the “God of Football”.
Xavi already enjoys legendary status at Camp Nou, having turned out for the club on more than 500 occasions in the top flight, having spent 17 years as a professional with the team he joined in 1991.
Now 40, the ex-Spain international star is managing Al Sadd, where he spent the final four years of his playing career, but is continuously linked with a move back to Catalunya, particularly if there is a vacancy in the dugout.
While Xavi has previously stated that he does not feel ready for the task of leading Barca, Eto’o, who helped the club to the 2009 Champions League title under Pep Guardiola, has encouraged his former team-mate not to wait much longer.
“I’ve told Xavi that whatever happens, he has to go back to Barca – and I told him that he has to do it while the God of Football is still there,” he told Cataluyna Radio.
“He played with him, and that will make it easier for him than for another.”
Meanwhile, Eto’o has told Barca that Luis Suarez cannot easily be replaced, even if they add Lautaro Martinez to their ranks from Inter this summer.
“I love Suarez. He’s making an incredible story with Barcelona,” he said when asked if he or the Uruguayan is the club’s greatest No.9. “We’re both lucky to have played for such a club.
“Luis is always Luis, he is one of the best players in the world in his position. It is obvious that Barca have to reinforce themselves, but it is not necessary to take away the stripes of a general. Luis is a general, he is a captain, and he cannot be demoted.
“Lautaro is doing very well, but people have a tendency to forget recent history. Luis has written the history of Barca and of football. We must admit it. That does not mean that new players should be excluded, but you can’t forget the greats.”